US failure on Bosnian arms exposes split


Defence Correspondent

The US failed yesterday to persuade the leading European powers to help re-arm the mainly Muslim Bosnian armed forces. The move has revealed a split which threatens to divide not only the Nato nations in the peace Implementation Force but also the five-nation "contact group".

Representatives of more than 30 countries met in Ankara to discuss US proposals to re-arm and re-train the Bosnian government forces. But Britain and France were only observers and the Russians refused to attend.

The US wants to build up the forces of the Bosnian government and their Croat allies - before the withdrawal of the Nato-led peace force, I-For, at the end of the year - as a counterweight to the better-armed Bosnian Serb forces. Britain and France always opposed arming one side in the civil war and still oppose arming the Muslim-Croat entity before I-For withdraws, in case the arms are turned on their peacekeeping troops.

If the US drive succeeds, Britain, France and Russia will not only be humiliated diplomatically but will also be excluded from arms sales. US equipment and training played a major part in Croatia's victories last summer and are also used by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which have played a leading role in supporting US efforts to re-arm the Bosnian Muslims.

So far, the US has offered $100m and was trying yesterday to gain further contributions from oil-rich Arab states. Bosnia's senior representative, Muhamed Sacirbey, is seeking $750m to $1bn in the first year.

Mr Sacirbey said the Bosnian forces had about 200,000 men under arms and that although the economy would benefit from demobilising some of the troops, it would cost more money in the short term.

The Bosnian army is a mainly infantry force and needs more heavy weapons. Colonel Terry Taylor of the International Institute for Strategic Studies said yesterday that the first priority would be light armoured vehicles of the type widely used by the British and French in Bosnia, and light artillery. Although Britain and France are most unlikely to supply arms now, diplomatic sources said Britain might assist in other areas, such as training in mine-clearance.

Experts agree that the most important part of strengthening the Bosnian armed forces will be improving command, control, communications and training, plus support including trucks and rations.

t The UN attacked Bosnia's government yesterday for failing to curb looting and intimidation of Serbs in the Ilidza district of Sarajevo, now returned to Muslim-Croat control. Letters, page 14

More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Litigation NQ+

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE NQ to MID LEVEL - An e...


Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

Day In a Page

Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?